Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what constitutes a goal and what constitutes a habit – and if they’re different things. For me, goals are more specific and are usually met, celebrated, and then moved on from – i.e. making a quilt. A habit, on the other hand, is something I’m hoping to build and integrate into my life – i.e. eating a healthy breakfast. While starting a new habit can be a goal, the habit itself isn’t usually a goal. I’m learning more about that this year as I’ve set two daily goals and tracked them using a habit tracker by Elise Joy.
My first one was flossing my teeth, pretty much the lamest thing to choose to track daily for a year. But I was tired of the dentist ragging on me and I know how important flossing is so I decided it was time to form the habit. And so far, it’s worked! I have managed to floss my teeth every day this year. And as a habit it has definitely stuck. It’s part of my routine now and I think that’s what I’m most pleased about. No matter where I am or how tired I may be I still floss my teeth before bed. I haven’t been back to the dentist yet but I’m really hoping they’ll be able to tell haha.
A couple things happened that made me want to start another tracker mid-year. Around mid-April I realized the teeth flossing had become an actual habit and I no longer needed the tracker for motivation, I just flossed anyway and filled in my bubbles when I remembered to. We got our dog mid-March and I really wanted to make sure she was happy and got enough walking in. I had recently discovered the health app on my iPhone and saw everyone getting into fitbits and obsessing over hitting their daily 10,000 steps – and I wanted in. I decided to print another tracker and start using it to track the days I hit 10k and let me tell you, those bubbles are so much more rewarding than the flossing bubbles. I really have to work for them throughout the day. It’s hard, and I sometimes feel like I’m getting worse at hitting my steps for the day rather than making progress, but it’s motivating to have the tracker and be able to see the days I did meet my goal. It has also been interesting to see which days I’m more likely to hit my goal and figure out why that is. I have learned that weekends are harder because I don’t get my usual (about) two mile walk with Onyx in on those days.
At the end of May I decided to add another element to my daily steps tracker – yoga. I now have a color-coded highlighter for hitting 10k steps, hitting 10k and doing yoga, and hitting <10k and doing yoga. I am still working on making this a more regular part of my days. It’s hard to carve out that time for myself and figure out when the best time is to do it. But I’ve still got half a year to figure it out! It’s never too late to start. It can be hard to let go of what feels like the “wasted” time before starting, but waiting for a new year to start something is ridiculous, just look how many bubbles you could fill in between now and then! It might even motivate you to work doubly hard to fill in all your bubbles to make up for lost time. I’m still learning the importance of not letting the fact that you’re at Point A keep you from working toward Point B. It can happen, you just gotta do the work.
Ready to just start? Get a digital download of a daily goal tracker for yourself here. And then get to it!